Tax Credits and Scholarships Available to Facilitate School Choice:
- Tax credit scholarships: All public school students are eligible for private school scholarships through Student Scholarship Organizations (SSOs) if they attended a public school for at least six weeks immediately prior to receiving a scholarship or are enrolling in prekindergarten, kindergarten, or first grade. Eligibility continues until a student graduates, reaches age 20, or returns to public school. Georgian’s receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits for donations to SSO’s. Individuals may claim up to $1,000, and married couples filing jointly may claim up to $2,500. An individual who is a member of an LLC, a shareholder of an S-Corporation, or a partner in a partnership may claim up to $10,000. Corporate taxpayers may claim up to 75 percent of their total tax liability. The program is capped at $58 million in tax credits per year.
- Special needs scholarships: Any student with a disability whose parents are unhappy with their assigned public school can receive a voucher to attend a private school of their choice. To qualify, a student must have been enrolled in a Georgia public school for the entire prior school year; preschool programs do not count toward this factor. The student must also have received special education services under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) at any point in that year. The student’s parent/guardian must currently live in the state and have been a resident for at least one year.
Notable Education Bills in front of GA Lawmakers in 2014:
- Rep. Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) introduced House Bill 759 that would almost double the cap on Tax Credit Scholarships from $58 million annually to $100 million. This year’s cap was met in a record breaking three weeks! This looks like a win-win-win for taxpayers, parents, and students!
- Rep. Lindsey (R-Atlanta) is sponsoring House Bill 123, the Georgia Parent Trigger Act. This bill makes it easier for parents in traditional public schools to convert their school into a charter school or to address management problems in a low performing school. The Georgia House passed the bill in 2013 and it is currently in the Senate Education Committee. If passed, the Parent Trigger Act would provide much needed support and power to both parents and teachers that know how to best educate the students in their school.
- Rep. Taylor (R-Dunwoody) is sponsoring House Resolution 486, “The Georgia Independent School System Resolution”. This proposed amendment to the state’s constitution would provide municipalities formed after 2005 with the choice to form small, independent school systems. The benefit to this would be greater flexibility and autonomy for the newly formed independent school district to effectively and efficiently provide students with a high quality education targeted to their needs. If the resolution passes in both the House and the Senate by a two-thirds vote, it will be placed on the ballot for Georgia voters to decide on.
Advocate for School Choice:
Moms for School Choice encourages you to contact your legislators and let them know how you feel about expanding school choice options in Georgia. Visit www.votesmart.org to find your elected officials.
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit our website: www.momsforschoolchoice.org
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Donations to Moms for School Choice are tax-deductible. We are a 501c3 non-profit organization with tax exempt status.
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